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The Tyranny of Numbers: Why Counting Can't Make Us Happy

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  17 Ratings  ·  2 Reviews
Too often we try to quantify what can't actually be measured. We count people, but not individuals. We count exam results rather than intelligence, benefit claimants instead of poverty. The government has set itself 10,000 new targets. Politicians pack their speeches with skewed statistics: crime rates are either rising or falling depending on who is doing the counting. We ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 4th 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Alyssia Cooke
Jul 13, 2011 Alyssia Cooke rated it liked it
The amount of time in an average lifetime in Britain spent looking for lost thing: 1 year.

The amount spent by Americans every year breaking into broken automatic car locks: $400 million.

The amount of times people have sex around the world every day: 120 million.

There we go, I thought the last one would get your attention! Anyhow, that did have a point because this book is all about our obsession with numbers, and how this obsession goes back several centuries. But it asks the fundamental ques
...more
Michael Mcclelland
It surprises to recall times when every aspect of life and society wasn't monitored, recorded and extrapolated from. The move to statistics-based policy-making was remarkably recent, and at times, a hotly disputed one at that. The contention of the book, and supporting examples abound within it, is that behavioural and societal problems are extraordinarily complex and any attempt to dilute these problems to a single number can be wildly wrong and/or dangerous. Combine this with the observations ...more
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David Boyle is the author of Blondel’s Song: The capture, imprisonment and ransom of Richard the Lionheart, and a series of books about history, social change and the future. His book Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life helped put the search for authenticity on the agenda as a social phenomenon. The Tyranny of Numbers and The Sum of Our Discontent predicted the backlash ag ...more
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